Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Renewal for Youth

Conversation Guide

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A group of teens hang out together

When we talk about renewing our social, emotional and spiritual life, we are really talking about our mental health. Our mental health is tied to what we think about ourselves, how we connect with our family and friends, and if we feel like we belong. It is about our thoughts, feelings, and memories along with culture, early life experiences, where we live, our faith, and other factors. Mental Health and renewal of our social, emotional, and spiritual selves is critical because how we feel about ourselves and our connection to our schools, jobs, or communities influences our decisions and actions. This conversation guide is designed to help you consider your personal experiences, how you can support others, and what kind of impact we can have on a community.

Background Information:

This guide was created in partnership with Thriving Together. Thriving Together Logo

Let's Get Started!

Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate. 

Why We're Here (~10 min)

Each participant has 1 minute to introduce themselves.

Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.

Conversation Agreements:
How We'll Engage (~5 min)

These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)

  • Be curious and listen to understand.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. 
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences. 
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. 
  • Be purposeful and to the point. 
  • Own and guide the conversation. 

Question Rounds:
What We’ll Talk About

Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.

Round 1:
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?

Round 2:

Social, Emotional, and Spiritual Renewal for Youth (~40 min)

One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.

Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..

  • What thoughts or feelings come up when you think of your social, emotional, and spiritual self?
  • Where are you feeling confident? Where are you struggling?
  • Describe a time when you felt like your school or adults in your life were listening to you. What did it feel like or look like?
  • When a friend faced a challenge, what helped them get through the difficult time? Looking back, what else do you wish they had to support them?
  • What does belonging mean to you? Describe a time when you felt at home and appreciated for being you.

Round 3:
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)

Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

  • What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
  • What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
  • How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?

Closing (~5 min)

  • Give us feedback! Find our feedback form here.
  • Donate! Make more of these possible; give here.
  • Join or host more conversations! With a) this group by exchanging your emails; b) others in person and/or by video call online. Get more involved or learn how to host here.

Thank You!